They say you can’t get too many answers from spring training games. They’re right. But the questions it generates are fun. So let’s ask some questions about the Twins first spring training game versus the Rays on Saturday…
Why wasn’t Ben Revere on the field?
For this first game, Ron Gardenhire posted his probably starting day lineup, had his (already announced) Opening Day pitcher on the mound, and utilized relievers that all have a good chance of making the final roster. But there was one exception.
We’ve mostly assumed that Ben Revere would be starting in left field. Yesterday, it was Trevor Plouffe. This could be because Revere had some minor injury – after all, he also didn’t play as a sub. It could be because Gardenhire is sending a message to Revere about something we don’t know about, too.
Or it could be that Gardenhire and the Twins are seriously considering a platoon in left field. The Rays started a left-hander on the mound yesterday and Revere is left-handed and Plouffe is right-handed. Plouffe has also hit much better against left-handed pitching than right-handed pitching in his limited at-bats.
By the way, it’s probably also worth noting that even though Plouffe was in the outfield, Willingham still started in right field. Since Willingham has played left field for most of his career, we’ve wondered how that would go. It looks like the intention is for him to play right field.
Who Pitched More Than One Inning?
Carl Pavano started the game and pitched two innings, which is normal for the first spring training game of the year. Following him were six relievers who we all expect to see time in the majors at some point this year. But only one of them pitched two innings.
That was Brian Duensing who threw two innings immediately after Pavano. Duensing is likely being stretched out in spring training just like the other starters. That may be because he really is competing for a starting rotation spot, but it’s more likely that he’s the backup plan in case Pavano, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Francisco Liriano or Jason Marquis gets hurt.
Speaking of hurt, is anyone?
Not that we know of. And the three guys about whom there are the biggest concerns all had a nice start to the Grapefruit League season. Denard Span had two hits in his three AB and Joe MAuer and Justin Morneau drove in the first two runs of the game.
Did any other performances stand out?
Matt Maloney, a left-handed reliever who was picked up off of waivers and is out of options, struck out the side in the eighth inning. He faced three left-handers and they were minor leaguers, but for him to even be pitching in this game suggests he’s a favorite for a bullpen role and that performance helps.
Also Tsuyoshi Nishioka got two hits, which isn’t huge news, given that he had a strong spring training last year too. But the second was a triple that went over an outfielder’s head, which we saw very rarely last year. That’s encouraging.
If you would like to watch tonight’s Twins game with a crowd, join us at the Wild Boar
at 6:05. We’ll be joined by Aaron Gleeman and work on the Gleeman and the Geek podcast, too.
Over at Twins Daily, you’ll find plenty more to nibble on today: